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Ancient Records Indicate Climate Change September 15, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, In The News, Science & Technology.
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Ancient Records Help Test Climate Change – Forbes.com
EINSIEDELN, Switzerland –

A librarian at this 10th century monastery leads a visitor beneath the vaulted ceilings of the archive past the skulls of two former abbots. He pushes aside medieval ledgers of indulgences and absolutions, pulls out one of 13 bound diaries inscribed from 1671 to 1704 and starts to read about the weather. “Jan. 11 was so frightfully cold that all of the communion wine froze,” says an entry from 1684 by Brother Josef Dietrich, governor and “weatherman” of the once-powerful Einsiedeln Monastery. “Since I’ve been an ordained priest, the sacrament has never frozen in the chalice.”

Pfister has found that from 1900 to 1990, there was an average of five months of extreme warmth per decade. In the 1990s, that number jumped to an unprecedented 22 months. The same decade also had no months of extreme cold, in contrast to the half-millennium before.

Even in the last major global warming period from 900 to 1300, severe winters were only “somewhat less frequent and less extreme,” Pfister says. Over the past century, temperatures have gone up an average of 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is often attributed to the accumulation of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere.

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